I turned my first piece of wood under my father’s guiding hand in his home workshop in West Wales and spent happy holiday hours blunting his tools and creating firewood. Eventually I bought my own lathe but work and other interests limited the amount of time I could spend with it. Now retired, more time is available and I can enjoy making shavings out of which appear assorted creations.
Wood is an intriguing material, ever-present around us but so often taken for granted. Most people see the trees but few consider what they contain. Hidden beneath the bark are so many features that are exposed when the branch is cut or the tree is felled. Each species has its own character, but no two pieces from the same tree, trunk or branch are ever the same. Grain and figure, knots and inclusions all offer challenges and opportunities. Putting the wood on the lathe and making the first cuts with the tool is always an adventure which I never tire of.
I use a variety of timbers, some “exotics” which I have inherited, but mostly temperate and native hardwoods. Among them, ash and yew are particular favourites, but oak, apple and damson which have been given to me are currently being dried for use in the coming months. There is a special pleasure in turning wood whose provenance is known and which I have cared for until it it ready to be turned into an attractive or useful item.